World Monkey Day Seeks To Celebrate & Protect Earth’s Primates

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December 14 isn’t just any ol’ day on the calendar. It’s World Monkey Day!

This unofficial holiday was created by art students Eric Millikin and Casey Sorrow in 2000, according to Guinness World Records. They incorporated adorable primates into their comic artwork and even more people started falling in love with the long-tailed, tree swinging creatures.

This anniversary was quickly adopted by animal lovers and conservationists who have taken advantage of the day to bring a greater awareness to endangered primates and celebrate these intriguing simians. Here’s a snapshot of five amazing monkeys to help jumpstart your celebration on World Monkey Day.

Japanese macaque

Considered Old World monkeys, these fantastical animals live in the mountainous region of Japan. Many believe that monkeys live in warm climates, but the Japanese macaque endures cold winters where the temperatures can plummet as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. They do enjoy going for a dip in natural hot springs where the water can reach a balmy 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mandrill

Most believe that gorillas are actually the largest monkeys, but gorillas, chimps, orangutans and their relatives are in a separate ape group. The largest member of the monkey family actually is the mandrill. It resides in the rainforests of West Africa and the males can weigh more than 110 pounds. Mandrills resemble a baboon and are well known for the males’ vibrant faces and tushies.

Pygmy marmoset

This primate is the smallest monkey with the full-grown adults able to nestle in the palm of a human hand. The newborn pygmy marmoset is the size of a human thumb. The adorable primate resides in the Amazon region of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. Because of their diminutive size, this little monkey is a highly sought after snack by its predators, but one of its defense mechanisms is that it can jump almost 40 times its own body length in just one leap.

Proboscis monkey

Named for their noses, the proboscis monkey has a honker that averages the size of a banana, which qualifies it as having the longest primate nose. Biologists believe this distinctive feature helps the males catch the attention of females by increasing the sound of their calls throughout the thick Borneo forests.

Yunnan snub-nosed monkey

While we’re on the subject of noses, the snub-nosed monkey loves to live at high elevations, particularly above the treeline of the Trans-Himalayan peaks. Because it claims a high-altitude and cold climate habitat, this monkey prefers nibbling on readily accessible lichens.